Tonight vaguely marks the point at which fans begin to worry about tryptophans (the chemical that is naturally found in turkey and that, according to folk wisdom, makes the whole fam flake out and sleep like snakes digesting baby antelopes right after a holiday meal).
Tonight certainly marks the point at which my superstitious self begins to worry about the Habs, the Holidays, and the possibility of a solstice slump. Too often in recent years, the Habs have gotten through December and January as though they were all having heaping plates of turkey and stuffing about 20 minutes before puck-drop: sleepily, groggily, nauseated by the thought of effort, seemingly burping up fumes of undigested drumstick and just wanting to get back to the bench. Please, oh ye about to be born, don’t let it happen this year.
Whether these holiday turkeys of the past have been caused by too much partying (young players), too much warm and fuzzy family time (older warriors), too much caring about non-hockey-related things (yes, you can go visit the sick kids, but they want you to win too!), or unfortunate acts of God (Habs bench flu epidemic of 2008)–none of that matters. What fans want for x-mas is simple: for players to show up and work, yes, work through the holidays.
The need to re-mojofy begins tonight, as the Habs face the ugly, evil, but very efficient Flyers, and continues tomorrow, when their best frenemies the Bruins and their goalie Tim “Patrick the Starfish” Thomas try to extend the Habs’ losing streak.
The Habs have yet to lose 3 in a row this season. They have been playing against the current of Jacques Martin’s established system, and have gotten into a habit of showing up sometime in the second intermission. No more. Where are the virtuoso breakout passes by our usual skilled suspects? Where is the Cammalleri sharpshooting, never-give-up offensive-zone presence? What about the solid Martin defensive system that had the Habs tops in penalty -killing until recently? Let’s get Carey back where he belongs, and make him play two nights in a row, before anybody hits the holiday buffet.
Otherwise, our fear of clowns will be superseded by a fear of Santa Claus.